Thursday, February 16, 2012

I will be the most patient person in the world...Eventually

I am in training to be the MOST PATIENT PERSON ON THE PLANET!  On more than one occasion,  my wife has told me that I could stand to be a little more patient. Until today,  I never agreed with her. I hate to admit this but... it is likely that the at the Almighty One is on the same page as my wife. I'd like to replay this afternoon's events in an effort to illustrate this afternoon.

This morning I was asked to pick up Greg & Michelle Roberts at the Dominican border. I asked Uncle Kessy (one of our fabulous interpreters) to join me for the ride.
Uncle Kessy and Willow at the Guest House

Kessy and I left the house at 2:15 to make the 22 mile trip. In good traffic this usually takes approximately an  hour and 15 minutes. This trip can easily take 2+ hours when traffic is heavy.   First lesson in patience: a 22 mile trip takes will take at least an hour or two...which is frustrating to me.

View Larger Map
En route to the border, we approach a Haiti Police station that lies within a mile of the border. Ninety percent of the time the police at this station are inside or sitting under a tree avoiding the heat.

Today, they decide to stop Kessy and I. The policemen decided to stop us and take our papers with my license. After careful review of the documents, the police proceed to inform me that we could not continue to the border with the documents we had.  After 20 minutes of negotiating for the return of our vehicle documents, Mr. Cop  and I agreed to disagree. This translated into me not driving any farther, and Mr. Cop not getting what he wanted. 
The check point we were banned from crossing.

Kessy and I were forced to wait… for 2 hours at the checkpoint.  Finally, we heard from Greg that he secured a ride across the border and planned to meet us at the checkpoint which the police prevented me from passing. While we waited patiently,  Kessy & I had a blast trying to hitchhike with truckers & Tap taps, speculate about the illegal items which might be on board cargo trucks, and  people-watch random pedestrians.
Haitian TapTap= a brightly colored taxi that will carry all your friends and your junk.
Meanwhile my patience is tried again and again. Every few minutes, a motorcycle taxi stops and tries to convince me into paying them for a ride to the border. This didn't help my situation, and would have pleased Mr. Cop, which caused me to want to hire them even less.

Please pick me up. The Po Po don't like my car, so can I ride in yours?

Eventually, Greg and Michelle arrived and we headed home.Within minutes, we came upon a huge traffic jam.  The follow video sufficiently surmises our sentiments.
Eventually, we made it home and were greeted warmly by everyone at the guest house. In retrospect, I had fun bonding with Kessy at the Police checkpoint. I learned more about dealing with the Police, and I observed how they decide to stop specific vehicles and allow others to pass randomly without question.

Every day, usually multiple times a day, my Patience button is smashed. I am learning to step back, take a deep breath, and roll with it. These impatient moments are teaching me. LIFE isn't about Matt Rideout. LIFE is not ever going to operate on my schedule, regardless of how hard I try to force the issue.

Would I be a happier person if I grasped this concept and  embraced it?

I believe the answer is Yes. I believe there are many aspects of my life that would benefit if I could truly embrace and evoke patience. My faith will grow, my marriage will improve, and I will be a more effective leader. Tonight, I am committed to praying for patience for myself and those whom I interact with and I challenge you to do the same.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Typical Tuesday

This blog is a little late! Sorry guys! We have had bad internet this week, so my pictures would not upload.  But we are back in the saddle, at least for the moment.  This was actually written on Tuesday, so review below and the update from the last few days is at the bottom:

What a crazy day this has been!  I am aware that this phrase comes out of my mouth more days than not, but I am learning that crazy usual equals God working. All of the heart patients for ICHF arrive today for a short stay at the guesthouse and will then go to Santiago next week for surgery.  What an honor it has been to welcome them in and get to know them. I have spent the morning hanging out with Kinsi and Guyito getting to know them, and it has been fun to play and learn from them this morning. 

Spending the morning at King's Hospital getting blood work done.

Matt  spent the morning looking for chicken and trying to get gas. It took him 4 hours to find a gas station that had gas… it was ridiculous!  The chicken, well, if this tells you anything, we aren’t having chicken for dinner anymore, we are having spaghetti….that's because we never found chicken today.  Oh what a day!  ;-) We are gladly taking the manna God provides, and today that is spaghetti.  I’m thankful for a computer so I can keep in touch, so as long as we have something to eat, and even if we don’t, we will praise!  

On another subject, that adds to the craziness, the Terracon, one of our vehicles, was confiscated by the police last night.  No explanation was given as to why it was taken; it was just gone.  Then today, when Kensley  went to pick it up, the explanation was given that apparently, they assumed the vehicle had been used in a kidnapping.  Really?  Who knows if that was what actually happened, but either way, it made for a really funny story.   We have been teasing the boys left and right about kidnapping people last night.  I know that doesn’t sound funny, but after the day we have had, sometimes you just have to laugh.

Willow has had a great week! She is growing like crazy and has been standing up and holding on to things to walk around her pack and play for about two weeks now.  I can’t believe she is growing so fast!  We are so blessed and at home in Haiti. Thank you for your prayers and for you support.  We are at 35% of our monthly support goal. If you know of anyone who might be thinking about partnering or might be interested in what we are doing here, we would be very grateful.  We are certain God provides, so we are being obedient to let our needs be known.
Here is Willow lifting up in her pack and play. She is roaming and it is crazy to see!

Update from the week...
In the last few days, we have had quite a few unexpected happenings.  The day the heart patients arrived, one of our translators was explaining surgery to parents of one of the heart patients, Kinsey.  It arose in conversation that the mom and dad were practicing Jehovah's Witnesses.  This knowledge set a chain of events into place that ended with them deciding that they could not knowingly allow Kinsey to go through with the heart surgery since she would have to receive a transfusion.  What a brick wall!  None of us saw this coming, and it has weighed heavily on our hearts since.  I have so much to say about this subject, but I will leave it to the next post.  Please be in prayer for this family as we daily pray that the veil would be lifted from their eyes and that the truth of scripture would be revealed.  We are certain God has a plan and that He already knew what was happening, so we wait to see God's plan come to fruition and in the meantime, we do not lose heart.  Amen?  Amen. :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blown Away

    Before we left for the Caribbean, I was blessed with the opportunity to share about our journey to Haiti countless times.  Each and every time I told people that I didn’t really want to move to Haiti, because of the heat, food, cultural differences, etc.  I told everyone that I was stepping out of my comfort zone to serve my God.
   I couldn’t have been more wrong, I can honestly say that our time on the ground has taught me something.  I am surrounded by believers whose faith is so strong, that it has driven me to cry out for forgiveness.

Madam Menden and her family
     She and her husband have 6 children.  They don’t  know where 4 of them are, and the other two are severely disabled. They live in a plywood house that measures 12’x12’. They have 1 twin bed.  We went to pray with them. They asked us to pray for God to strengthen their faith, and to remind them that without Him they have nothing. I was speechless. Did they want to pray for food, clothing, things of this world? No. They wanted to strengthen their walk.  The poorest of the poor were asking for a renewed faith in Christ, and not for anything of this world. I want faith like that!
A row of newly constructed home in the tent city of Canaan.

Madam Menden and 2 of her children.

Our Haitian staff
    After walking the streets of their community and seeing a need these dudes feel led to help their neighbors.  The guys have committed to donating 15% of their monthly earnings to help support a paralyzed woman in their neighborhood. All of these guys are hungry for the Word, and are making big commitments to help those around them because of their faith in a merciful loving Creator.  I want to be Generous like that!

Zeke, Steve, and Daniel delivering a wheel chair and food to a  paralyzed woman in their town.

Men of Karade Tent Camp
    We hold an English class twice a week at tent camp that is practically in our backyard.  At the end of each class, we present the gospel and pray with everyone.After a few weeks of meeting, the men have decided that while they do want to learn English, they want to learn the Bible even more. So we have started a class for them where we only study the bible. During the first meeting on Wednesday, they had so many questions and are so hungry for the Gospel that we only made it through 4 verses beginning in Genesis during 2 hours of class time. We meet inside of an old bus that has been converted into a classroom that meets from 3-5pm. It is impossible to describe how warm the air that bus is at that time of day. Yet, still they come, even running to class when we arrive.  I want to be hungry for knowledge of the Bible like that!
The school house where we hold English classes
The Classroom
John Fitts and the Mens English Class

Our Home
   So, I have changed my mind. I do want to live in Haiti. The trivial things of this life that seemed so important to me before we landed here (the temp, food, culture) are nothing. Because most of all I want to strengthen my Faith, and love for people. I want to share the love my God has shown for me with everyone, even if it means that I am hot, dirty, and in a far off land.  The Haitian people have humbled me in so many ways that I would never be able to share them all. When you think that life is hard, or that you are giving something up, remember these faces. They are the poorest of the poor and they are giving their all to Christ, with an insatiable hunger that has inspired me.  I am blessed to call this hot and dusty island HOME.

Sarah, Willow and I on a mini-adventure...